Caius Theory

Now with even more cowbell…

Read Later in a keystroke

I use a wonderful service for saving text to be read later, instapaper.com. It's gotten more wonderful as time has gone on and other applications/service's have gained the ability to save links/articles/webpages there for me to pick up later.

For instance, I'm out and about checking twitter on my iPhone using tweetie and someone tweets a link. Rather than wait for it to load and having to read it then and there I can just hit "Read Later" and it's saved in my instapaper account for me to read as and when I choose to. Recently the legendary mac feed reader NetNewsWire gained this ability too.

There's a few ways to send a feed item to instapaper from within NNW. Firstly you can right-click and click "Send to Instapaper".

Send to Instapaper from contextual menu
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Secondly there's a menu item for it in the News menu, which also provides my chosen way of instapapering an item—the keyboard shortcut! ⌃P (control-P).

Send to Instapaper from News menu
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So, in NNW I'm happily sending stuff to instapaper with the handy ⌃P shortcut, but that doesn't exist in the third place I mark things to read later–Safari! Up until now I've been using the standard "Read Later" bookmarklet that instapaper.com provides, and it's got a spot on my Bookmarks Bar so I can easily click it.

That doesn't really help with the fact I'm hitting ⌃P in NNW, and it doesn't work in Safari. Quite often I noticed myself hitting the key combination in Safari and wondering for a split second why it wasn't sending the item to instapaper. Then the solution hit me!

In OS X you can setup (and/or override) menu items with custom key combinations! Why hadn't I remembered this before. Because the "Read Later" bookmark(let) is nested under the Bookmarks menu, it is a menu item! A quick trip into the Keyboards Prefpane in System Preferences and a new binding later and voilâ, "Read Later" in Safari is bound to ⌃P and I can use it in both Safari and NNW.

Filling in the form to bind the keyboard shortcut
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My Menubar Items

This is a something that occasionally makes the rounds again, I've not seen it for a while and I've added some new items since I last remember documenting it. Thus, @macarne asking what the app was that gives me stats prompted me to document my current menubar items.

annotated-menubar by ©aius, on Flickr

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  1. SMCFanControl - Lets me adjust the minimum speed of my fans.
  2. Tweetie/mac
  3. iScrobbler - Scrobbles tunes iTunes plays
  4. LittleSnapper (Or more accurately the menubar icon is NanoSnapper, LittleSnapper is the full app.) Mainly used for screen grabs.
  5. SlimBatteryMonitor - Takes up less horizontal space than Apple's menu item.
  6. Expresscard menu item - Lets me power off my Expresscard/34 SSD
  7. MenuMeters - An old friend I've been using for as long as I can remember running OS X. Set to show (left to right)
    1. Ram - Used and Free totals.
    2. Network - Graph + values.
    3. CPU - Graph per core. Probably the most useful out of the three.
  8. Bluetooth
  9. Time Machine
  10. Modem - To dial on my Huawei E220 3G stick.
  11. Airport
  12. Sound
  13. Day/Time
  14. Fast User Switching - Not sure why I keep this in the menubar, only have one user and I lock my screen with a password protected screensaver.
  15. Viscosity - VPN software. Pretty useful.
  16. Spotlight! - Occasionally this vanishes when spotlight decides to be a dick and eat ram/cpu reindexing my disk every few hours. Touch wood it hasn't done it since 10.6.1.